Nearly a year ago, I wrote a story about the Mills family.
Their home at 54 North Avenue — just south of Staples High School — was slated for demolition. After more than 200 years, there would be no Millses living on the road.
Millses had been farmers and masons. One helped build the original Staples High School on Riverside Avenue. Yet the family seems to be forgotten. I ended the story:
Other long-lived Westport families have schools or parks named for them. The Mills family does not.
But they truly built this town. Their monuments are the countless stone walls, sea walls and foundations that exist to this day.
The piece sparked the curiosity of Mills descendant Jacques Voris. Eager to learn more of his family’s past, he visited the Westport Historical Society. They had almost nothing.
Voris began digging. He thought that Revolutionary War veteran John Mills (1760-1829) — who built #29 North Avenue, the small yellow saltbox that everyone still admires, as a blacksmith shop for his daughter and son-in-law –was the 1st family member in Westport.
Voris found, to his amazement, that Millses had lived in Westport for nearly a century before that.
Voris learned that his great-great-grandfather represented Westport in the state legislature, and the man’s son had been first selectman. Voris also discovered that a Mills was one of only 3 police officers killed in the line of duty here.
Now he wants to know even more.
For instance, what about the FL Mills Company? An automobile dealership started in Bridgeport in 1908 by Frederick LeClair Mills, it sold Studebakers for many years.
A Bridgeport Post ad from August 11, 1959 mentioned a new location on the corner of Post Road and South Maple Avenue, selling Studebakers, Mercedes Benzes and a variety of used cars.
Voris never knew about the dealership. He hopes “06880” readers have details.
So: If anyone remembers the Mills car dealer — or has any other stories about this storied, but often forgotten Westport family — click “Comments” below.